YEREVAN — Senior Armenian officials criticized the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for its inadequate response to continuing tensions along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan when they met with the military alliance’s secretary general Stanislav Zas on Monday.
Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan chided Stanislav Zas personally at the start of their talks in Yerevan.
“We have been waiting for your visit since May. It was quite a tense period for Armenia at that time, but, unfortunately, your visit did not take place. Today a stable difficult situation has developed on our borders. In May, the Azerbaijani armed forces intruded into Armenian territory in two directions. This worries us a lot. We stand for peace. In any case, we do not want tensions on our borders. At the same time, we are not ready to accept the actions that could lead to the violation of the state border of Armenia. We will resolutely defend our territories. We, of course, seek to resolve this issue peacefully, demonstrating our love for peace. At the same time, our patience is not inexhaustible either; in the absence of a peaceful resolution of the situation on our borders, we reserve the right to resolve the issue by force.”,” Karapetyan told Zas in remarks publicized by the Armenian Defense Ministry.
Armenia appealed to the CSTO for help after Azerbaijani troops crossed several sections of the border and advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory on May 12-14. It asked the alliance of six ex-Soviet states to invoke Article 2 of its founding treaty which requires the CSTO to discuss a collective response to grave security threats facing its member states.
The foreign ministers of Armenia, Russia, and four other CSTO member states discussed the border dispute when they met in Tajikistan later in May. They expressed concern over the tensions but did not issue joint statements in support of Armenia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan chided the bloc afterwards for not publicly siding with his country.
Zas said last month that the border standoff is not serious enough to require the CSTO’s military intervention. The remarks prompted criticism from Armenian officials, including Armen Grigoryan, the then secretary of Pashinyan’s Security Council.
Grigoryan, who is now Armenia’s acting foreign minister, held a separate meeting with Zas on Monday. Both he and Karapetyan said that Armenia will strive to “enhance the organization’s effectiveness” when it assumes the CSTO’s rotating presidency later this year.
Grigoryan drew the attention of Zas to the consequences of the Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and the threats emanating from this. The parties stressed the need to de-escalate the situation.
Tensions at some sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border rose further late last month, resulting in one of the most serious truce violations since Russia helped to stop the war in Nagorno-Karabakh last November.